Host a Christian Science lecture

Whether you have occupied the Lecture Chair for years, or have been elected to the position for the first time, this page is dedicated to support you at every step of hosting a lecture, metaphysically and technically. Consider this page a guideline and any resources as optional but able to be adjusted to your lecture. Please explore this page as you see fit, and do not hesitate to contact the Board of Lectureship office with questions.


To get started preparing for a lecture, it’s helpful to consider the by-laws that establish Christian Science lectures in the Manual of the Mother Church, pages 93 to 96, and how they apply to the unique demonstration of your lecture. Here are two bylaws on lecture activity from the Manual, by Mary Baker Eddy.

Article XXXII

Annual Lectures. Sect. 4. The Mother Church and the branch churches shall call on the Board of Lectureship annually for one or more lectures. (Church Manual, p. 94:16)

Article XXXI

Duty of Lecturers. Sect. 2. It is the duty of the Board of Lectureship to include in each lecture a true and just reply to public topics condemning Christian Science, and to bear testimony to the facts pertaining to the life of the Pastor Emeritus. (Church Manual, p. 93:10-15)


How to apply for a lecture

  1. Search for a lecturer by visiting Meet the lecturers for the current list of lecturers.

    • Lecture titles can be found at Search lectures by title for your prayerful selection. Lecturers’ biographical information and their calendar of scheduled lectures are on their profile pages at Meet the lecturers.

  2. Reach out to the lecturer of your choice and confirm their availability on a particular date.

    • Out of consideration for the lecturers, please only contact one at a time.

  3. Once you both have agreed on a lecture date, you can fill out the Online Lecture Application Form, submitting one form for each lecture you’re planning to host (if you’re sponsoring additional lectures).*

Online lecture application form

*Submitting a lecture application form confirms that your branch's Executive Board agrees to host the lecture with the speaker.

Contact us

If you have questions or need to update your lecture application after you’ve submitted it, please be in touch with the Board of Lectureship office.

Phone
+1 617 450 3669  
(English and French only)

Email
lecture@christianscience.com 
(any language OK)

Mailing address
Board of Lectureship, P07-10
The First Church of Christ, Scientist
210 Massachusetts Avenue
Boston, MA 02115 USA


As you prepare to host a lecture, we recommend starting with prayerful consideration among your lecture committee and church membership. Some supportive resources are provided below, but, of course, you’ll find additional resources through your own prayers and study.

Asking all of your branch church members for ongoing prayerful support of the lecture activity early on in the preparations can also prove helpful, especially when continued all year long!

You might also consider:

  • A metaphysical preparatory meeting. You can discuss with the lecturer the best way for her or him to participate in the meeting: in person, by phone, or video call.

  • A fruitage meeting after the lecture with the membership. Please share your comments and news of healings with the lecturer, or with the BoL office, too!

  • What kind of audience would you like to reach with your lecture (general, classroom, college organization, youth groups, jails and prisons, Christian Science care facilities, health or book fairs, interfaith groups, etc.)? What are ways to effectively reach (before) and follow up (after the lecture) with this audience?

  • Lecturers are eager to know and discuss with you the goals for the event — what you feel God calling you to accomplish this time, the location (online or in-person) and date, any charge for attending, etc. The initial conversation is a good time to ask about the lecturer’s fee and expenses, as well as to find out what items the lecturer expects you to provide for an online or in-person lecture. The lecturer will appreciate knowing about any new developments, concerns, or needs that come up during planning. They’re praying with you every day!

  • A local CSO (Christian Science Organization) at a nearby college or university may want to be involved. Perhaps CSO members might promote the lecture on campus or even schedule a lecture of their own while the lecturer is in town. Other branch churches or societies in your area / region may also be benefitted by knowing well in advance of your plan to bring in a lecturer, so that they might plan their own event and benefit from sharing the travel costs.

  • What literature do you plan to sell or give away at the lecture? Whether for an online or an in-person lecture, there may be bulk rates for buying multiple copies of the Bible, Science and Health, and periodicals through the Reading Room or by contacting sales@csps.com.

  • The lecturer will happily work with you in advance of the lecture day to develop an appropriate introduction.

You may be wondering how you should publicize your lecture, when you should begin publicizing the event, or to whom you are publicizing. You'll want to finalize event details as soon as possible, such as the exact website address or in-person venue. For creating and publishing publicity, that information should be settled at least six weeks before the event, if possible. Please inform the BoL office of these details so the notice on Find a Lecture is up to date.

Since Christian Science lectures are meant to address misconceptions and ignorance about Christian Science and Mary Baker Eddy within the branch church’s local community, the majority of advertising should be focused on reaching locally. Each branch has its own unique niche and a lecture helps the local community understand the public resources the branch provides to the area. Some possible avenues of promotion are as follows:

  • One-to-one invitations such as emails, texts, phone calls — this continues to be the single most effective method. 

  • Print publications such as newspapers or magazines

  • Local community calendars in print or online

  • Radio/podcast interviews

    • Contact the Board of Lectureship office at bolpublicity@csps.com or +1 617 450 3669 to learn more about setting up interviews with the lecturer and local media before the event.

  • Facebook Events that your branch church can share via social media. 

  • Facebook ads

    • Web-­based ads allow you to customize your audience and budget. Facebook provides you with detailed instructions on how you can create your own ad.

    • View Facebook ads tutorial (from Facebook) or this informal tutorial specific to Christian Science lectures. 

  • Online event registration platforms

    • Used for optional RSVPs, setting up reminder and follow-up emails for registrants, and (depending on whether or not your branch church has its own website) sharing information about the lecture.

    • View event registration tutorials

    • New laws are being developed in different countries and states regarding the collection of personal information. The above tutorials will include important guidelines. 

Some lecturers have publicity materials already available to share with branches. If these are available through the BoL publicity program, you’ll find links to samples at the bottom of the lecturer’s profile page. See below for more information about this program.

Board of Lectureship Publicity Program

If you are just beginning to promote your upcoming lecture but do not have a designer, don’t worry! The Board of Lectureship publicity program provides professionally pre-designed promotions to branch churches for certain kinds of lecture publicity. The program uses an automated system to create these materials based on the lecture information you provide.

If the lecture title you’ve selected has publicity materials available, you will see samples of promotional designs on the lecturer’s profile page under Meet the Lecturers. Please note that the samples are different from what you may be familiar with: instead of downloading Word documents or editable PDFs, you contact the BoL office at bolpublicity@csps.com directly. The BoL’s automated system will use the data you've provided in your lecture application to generate your publicity files for you.**  

The BoL will email the electronic files to you, at no charge or cost to you, as soon as they are ready. Your branch is then responsible for the costs of printing and communicating the files to a printer.

Currently included in the publicity designs are:

  • 8-1/2x11" flyer (standard US/Canada letter size), which can be increased or decreased proportionately up to the size of a poster or down to a size for a print ad in newspapers or magazines

  • 4-1/4x6" postcard which is also compatible to an A6 size postcard (105x148mm)

  • horizontal banner designed specifically for web ads (about a 1x2 proportion) that can be proportionately resized for physical printing, up to about 3’ x 6’ (1m x 2m)

  • A4 standard size large flyer/poster (210x297mm)

  • A5 standard hand-flyer (148x210mm)

Together, these publicity items are called "collateral."

For those branches who wish to use the collateral as part of online advertising, we recommend using JPG files. You can proportionately size the banner to fit the dimensions allowed for an online ad. As a JPG file, the banner has the ability to become a click-through link to a website of your choosing, most likely to your branch's website where there would be more information about the lecture. We recommend placing the flyer or A4 JPG on this website so that people who click on the banner will know that they've landed on the right page.

Currently, there is no design specifically provided for print ads in newspapers and magazines because sizes vary so widely. Should your branch want print ads, you can use any of the sizes you feel would best fit the ad space. However, the promotional design cannot be cropped or altered in any way except to proportionately reduce it to fit the ad space. If these sizes are not compatible with the ad space, you may always create your own patterning it after the predesigned piece so that they are similar.

Do note that neither The Mother Church nor BoL provides design services to customize or alter the design. The purpose of this program is to generate digital files from an automated system, and as a result wording or design changes will not be possible.

The images used in the publicity designs are used through legal agreements between The Mother Church and third party vendors. These agreements prohibit any other party from editing or altering the materials. Although it may be technologically possible to alter the PDF design, doing so is not in agreement with the BoL's terms of use.

**If you are not interested in using the collateral, that’s okay too! Branches are not obligated to use these designs. They are lovingly provided as an option, but you are also welcome to design your own fliers and publicity instead. Should you do this, please be sure to show your designs to the lecturer for approval before you print or publish them. View our brief design tips.

  • Many attendees are so grateful to have the opportunity to buy or receive copies of the Bible and Science and Health, or other materials like Christian Science periodicals after lectures, whether at an in-person or online lecture. (We recommend, if copies of Science and Health will be available, to have copies of the Bible as well. Some people don’t have one, and it’s natural for our Christian denomination to make them available along with Science and Health.)

  • If you would like to share a specific article from one of the periodicals, check the Permissions section in the issue. Usually, up to 100 reprints of any article are allowed without permission. All credits must be preserved. If you want to make more than 100 copies or need more information, email copyright@csps.com for permission.

  • Will there be handouts (in-person) or a slide (online) about local Christian Science resources: information about the church, Reading Room, ChristianScience.com, the branch church website, and future lectures? Many attendees who are new to Christian Science appreciate knowing how they can contact the branch church with questions or research more online at home.

While there are many ways to host an online lecture, say through a webinar or video conference service, online lectures are more accessible to the public when hosted on a branch church’s website. Whether your branch already has a website or would need to set one up in order to host an online lecture in this manner, hosting a lecture online is doable. See additional information about hosting a live online lecture on a website.

Technical questions

To proceed with an online lecture, please speak with your lecturer directly about web technology to ensure both parties are clear about who is responsible for managing the technical aspects of the lecture. Here are some points to consider as you prepare for this discussion:

  • Does the lecturer provide a livestream or webinar technology? (See explanation below.) If not, the branch church will need to assess if and how they can provide it. What are the associated costs?

  • Does the lecturer work with a technical assistant? If so, what expenses might a branch church expect to incur for both the lecturer’s webinar subscription service and the assistant’s services? (You can think of these as the online version of normal additional expenses for hosting an in-person lecture.) 

  • Does the branch church have its own website or social media account? If so, you may want to consider hosting the live lecture and replay of the lecture on your branch website and link to your social media page. Talk to your lecturer to coordinate this activity. More information is available below.

    • If your church doesn’t have a website or social media account, talk with your lecturer about other ways to provide a live online lecture. 

  • Will the lecturer provide a recording of the lecture? How long will the lecturer allow the recording to be available online?


Types of Streaming Services

Livestream 

  • The lecturer conducts the lecture online from a computer in his/her own home or other remote location over a platform like YouTube or Vimeo.

  • The live video of the lecture is preferably streamed to the branch church’s website.

  • The audience can see and hear the lecturer, but not each other. Talk to your lecturer about the best way to handle audience questions.

  • A branch could arrange a group viewing venue as an optional alternative to attending this remote event in person with others.

  • Telephone call-in service may be available. Talk with your lecturer about this option.  

  • Post-lecture video replay is often available using the same link as the live lecture, staying visible on the branch’s web page for a period of time.

    • The livestream video quality is typically higher than webinar video quality.

Webinar 

  • The lecturer conducts the lecture online from a computer in his/her home or other remote location over a webinar service like Zoom or GoToWebinar. 

    • Lecture attendees may need to download the webinar software to their own computers or smartphones in order to join the lecture online.

  • During a webinar, the audience can see and hear the lecturer, but not each other. The audience will only be able to communicate with each other if the lecturer has enabled the live chat function.

  • The audience will be able to communicate with the lecturer if the lecturer has enabled a Q&A function.

  • A branch could arrange a group viewing venue as an optional alternative to attending this remote event in person with others.

  • Telephone call-in service may be available. Talk with your lecturer about this option.  

  • A post-lecture video replay may be available on a separate link than the live event and is provided by the lecturer.


Frequently asked questions:

How is preparing for a web lecture different from an in-person one?

It’s not different. Both require the same metaphysical engagement from the entire branch church membership, advertising, and working with the lecturer to arrange for a meeting space — either in person or online.


What is the cost of a live web lecture?

The overall cost is similar to an in-person lecture. The speaker’s fee will be the same as for an in-person lecture. Talk with the lecturer about web technology expenses, the fees associated with a technical assistant (if the lecturer works with one), and whether the lecturer may need to stay at a hotel to ensure a better internet connection. 


Which lecturers are available to give live web lectures?

Nearly all lecturers, even those outside your country, are available to lecture via web lectures (though the type may vary). While no special visa is needed if the lecturer gives the web lecture from outside your country, please discuss in detail with your lecturer your specific community’s needs, any possible cultural differences between the lecturer’s and the church’s home countries, the logistical needs to ensure the lecturer has a reliable internet connection, and payment methods.


How far in advance should we plan a live web lecture?

  • While lectures can be put together very quickly under special circumstances, several months of preparation is ideal. A web lecture needs as much advance planning as an in-person lecture. 

  • Submit a lecture application form once you and your lecturer have settled on a date.

  • Contact the Board of Lectureship office at lecture@ChristianScience.com with any updates or edits to your lecture application, including sharing the link to attend the live web lecture.


Do lecturers provide advertising materials?

  • Some lecturers have publicity materials available for you to use. See the lecturer’s specific lecturer profile page at Meet the Lecturers. For more information, see the Publicity Program section under the Publicity and Advertising accordion above.

  • If you decide to design your own, see this helpful design tips page. You can also look through the designs available on other lecturers’ pages to get some ideas. 

    • Be sure to share your designs with the lecturer for approval before distributing them.


Our lecturer lives outside our country. How should we pay them and what are the tax implications?

  • Often, it’s via direct wire transfer from the church’s bank to the lecturer’s bank, or via Western Union. 

    • If your branch is in the UK and hosting an in-person lecture, there are specific methods for payment already in place through The Mother Church’s Treasurer’s Office. Your clerk or treasurer should already know the method. Talk with your lecturer about the specifics.

  • Please be aware of filing tax information appropriate for your branch’s country.

    • For example, when a US church invites a non-US citizen lecturer:

      • No 1099-NEC is needed

      • If the lecturer’s home country has a tax treaty with the US, the lecturer completes the W-8BEN form and the church keeps it on file along with a record of payment to the lecturer.

  • The branch church will need to do additional research on a case-by-case basis


Can we post the recording of our lecture online somewhere?

  • Discuss this option with your lecturer. Please be aware that lecturers retain the copyright to all versions of their lectures: live, video, audio, print, etc. We recommend that the branch church and any videographers or other technicians sign an agreement acknowledging this. (Your lecturer can supply the form.)

  • Some lecturers may provide a link to the replay of the lecture, which churches can embed on their own website or Facebook page. Note that lecturers will generally request the video be removed after a certain amount of time has passed.

  • Talk with your lecturer about using a table/podium, type of sound system and microphone, flipchart, chair, etc.

  • When selecting a location for your event(s), it can be important to visit the facility, assess how easy it will be for attendees to find the location and the room within the building, and what kind of parking accommodations are available. How might attendees find the location via public transportation? Does the facility allow signs or sandwich boards at entrances? What kind of sound system is available? Is there any way the lecture activity can be a direct support to the facility / organization in the process?

  • If not already provided at the venue, renting a portable sound system can be very useful. Make sure to test the wireless microphone before the day of the lecture and bring extra microphone batteries!

On the day of the lecture, there may be many logistics to keep in mind. Active prayerful support for the day will set everything on the right track, keeping focus on the one and only true cause of all that is good, embracing the whole community in the divine message, expressing and cherishing the natural love that results from this focus with every attendee or passer-by, either virtual or in person. The following are suggestions that have proved beneficial reminders.

For an in-person lecture, it may be helpful to have church members assigned to:

  • Prepare and close the meeting facility. Transport the lecturer to and from the event.

  • Ushers at entrances to the facility, at the parking area, and even at the closest public transportation points. Perhaps even hand out fliers and invite people to attend, while ushering at these posts.

  • Thoroughly test the sound system with the lecturer.

  • Provide child care.

  • Staff a literature table.

  • Introduce the lecturer with an introduction approved by the lecturer.

  • Pay the lecturer their lecture fee.

For an online lecture:

  • Prayerfully prepare the virtual meeting space, metaphysically ushering in all interested hearts.

  • Briefly test the different elements of the livestream with the lecturer and technical assistant, if appropriate.

  • Open and watchfully maintain the telephone call-in line. 

  • While the event may have concluded, the sharing and healing continues!

  • Consider following up with new visitors, if they’ve shared their contact information, or with other members of the community with whom you were in touch during your lecture preparations, in order to develop and nurture ongoing relationships.

  • So the whole membership can rejoice together, it might be valuable to hold a fruitage meeting and to share that fruitage with the lecturer.

  • With all the prayer, planning, and love expressed, you’ve laid a strong foundation for the blessings to come in your ongoing church activities, including the next lecture! Thank you!

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